One thing that is interesting about Honduras is the fact that it is never boring down here. There is always something to do and there is always something going on. It makes for an interesting and memorable trip everytime. Case in point, hurricanes. Now, those of us from Florida know hurricanes pretty well. 4 in one year last year. As we were tracking the storm it was apparent to us that the storm was losing its punch before it hit land. It was wobbling and wasn't very defined. Besides, we knew it was about to go over several mountain ranges once it hit Central America. We knew we were safe and sound here in Tegucigalpa. We got a steady down pour of rain all day. No thunder or lightning, no floods. We didn't even loose power! All in all it was a very good day.
The rain kept us from going back to finish the houses we had started the day before so we had to adjust our plans. What a wonderful thing too! We had a great day of work and we didn't even slow down. Rain or shine, inside or out, ministry goes on here in Honduras. We began our day as usual, 7:00 breakfast (American pancakes today!) and 8:00 devotional. Joe Merrilat, one of the local full time missionaries, spoke. Joe served on several Torch trips and as a summer intern with Tim. Joe spoke about seeking after Jesus. Answering the call. Once again a great lesson. After devo we spent time working in our journals and then broke into small group discussions. It was a great morning getting to know everyone better and talking about things that have happened on the trip so far.
After small group we divided into two teams. A small team of 8 went to the IRC warehouse to continue cleaning and organizing supplies there. The larger team stayed at the Mission House and worked on food distribution. We had hundreds of pounds of beans, rice, sugar, coffee, and other items, that was re-packaged into smaller bags and packed into boxes for distribution later in the week. With measuring cups in hand an assembly line formed to work on the food. Today's effort will feed over 200 families for 2 weeks. The warehouse team did a huge anount of work in the bodega. They moved, stacked, and organized about 25 pallets of supplies for summer teams coming in. Thjey also organized some medical equipment and also some food supplies for the First Lady.
We went to the mall for lunch to eat at the food court. I think all of Tegucigalpa was there since many businesses and schools were shut in preperation for the storm. After lunch we stopped by the warehouse to grab some supplies (toys and stuffed animals) and we headed over to the special needs orphanage. Most in our group had never been there before and did not know what to expect. There are about 25 children there, suffering in varying degrees of physical and mental handicaps. The facility is absolutely beautiful and is well staffed. The rain certainly didn't keep us away, especially since much of the facility is under roof.
We stayed for a couple of hours playing with the children. Small toys and stuffed animals were passed out (no candy, dinner time was soon and we did not want to ruin their it!) along with beaded necklaces. Bubble guns again blazed away both from us and from the children. Torch members took turns walking the children in their wheel chairs while others were carried. Bouncing balls were everywhere along with one on one time with the kids. Many of the children were severely handicaped and could not play so team members simply sat with them and rubbed their arms and backs. Slowly but surely it all began to sink in for the team. The ride back to the Mission House was quiet with a lot of tears.
One of the children from the orphanage that Steve Kemp had met over the years passed away about a month ago from complications from a cold. Franklin was the first graduate of the school there, receiving hos 6th grade education at age 17. Steve was so sad when he heard this but continued on through the day ministering to others. What a trooper he is. Another child, Daniel, was the focus of a lot of hugs and attention. Franklin was found abandoned in the province of Moskita, on the northeat coast. He had suffered from horrible misquito bites and his finger nails had been chewed off by wild animals. He could not understand Spanish (the people of Miskito speak their own language) or English. He is 5 years old and looks like he is 9 months old. He cannot walk yet but is getting healthier each day. If it were up to several in the group he would be coming home to the states! He is a very beautiful child and the staff therre love him so much.
We got back just in time for dinner and then had our evening devotional. I spoke tonight and talked about my cousin Tommy. He was born severely handicapped and the doctors did not ecpect him to live a year. Tommy is now in his early 40's and has lived a very happy life. I stressed the idea of maintaining our child like manners, after all, Jesus said we were to be like little children Himself. We spent a lot of time in song, many of the songs were slow paced and deeply heart felt. During our nightly "where did you wee Jesus today?" segment there were numerous comments about the events at the orphanage. Tears flowed as we experienced the day all over again. God moved within our team today.
We are hoping and praying for good weather tomorrow. Hurricanes usually clean up the air for a few day and we are counting on it. We want to try to get back to our houses and get them finished. I am sure tomorrow will be another great day. Thank you for the prayers, we ask that you continue as we work down here. We are having a great time and look forward to the days ahead. Blessings to all.